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Thread: Why can't I get my Recovering Alcoholic husband to connect with me?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    You didn't mention how long he had been abusing alcohol but during that time he was, his personal development became arrested.

    While you and everyone around him were evolving, learning personal and social skills, he was not. Based on the time that he started, assume his level of maturity is stuck at that age. Add in he doesn't have the necessary tools to deal with frustrations and intimacy and it's no surprise that you are in the situation you are in.

    It's too bad he's not committed to therapy. A lot of people are reluctant to it initially. It really sounds like he needs individual therapy along with couples counseling with you.

    You need to view the drinking as a symptom of something bigger. He stopped drinking but you are now having to face whatever reasons there were that him got into the addiction to begin with.

  2. #12
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    Honestly, let him go to his meetings. That is helping him stay sober. YES you do have time in your busy lives for him to go to meetings 1-3 hours a week. And stop trying to get him to do something abstract like "connect" - what does that mean?? How can one do it? Just like saying someone wants a person to be less distant. What does that mean? Why not instead propose the idea of a date night every other week? Date nights and similar lead to connecting eventually. Or even just find something interesting to do and say "hey, we should go to this" vs WE NEED DATE NIGHTS. Give it time. Don't push him into therapy anymore for right this minute -- go on some dates, maybe the spark will return. Maybe you need to have less busy live, too. maybe give up an obligation to give you more free tme

  3. #13
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aporia14
    I am trying to build a deeper more fulfilling relationship with my husband who I love so much. He cares for me and loves me but he doesn't always show it. He isn't engaged with me and the kids when he is with us. When he does do things with us, he chooses what we do and how we do it. It has to be something that interests him or he doesn't participate. I feel like I get more compliments from strangers than him. He misunderstands me a lot and is rarely supportive of things important to me.
    He becomes resentful of those things. He rejects my proposals to do things alone without the kids.
    He has been sober for 2years. I feel like he is dismissive of my thoughts and ideas just because its from me. We've been married for 12years. I've expressed my frustration and desire to be closer to him and he said he wants that too, but he doesn't have time. He is an alcoholic and he is trying to reduce stress, not create more things to add to his plate.
    It feels like he is growing distant from me and closer to his AA buddies. He thinks they are the only ones who can understand him. I figured I would just be here for him, but patience is not one of my virtues.
    Is there anything I can do, or read about to
    communicate with him better?
    I think you should join Al-Anon and the whole family go to Family Therapy. There is a lot more going on that needs to be worked on then him just not drinking and you're finding that out now. stopping drink is just the first step to being emotionally healthy... you all have to look into why he drank and work through how the drinking negatively affected all of you.

  4. #14
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    It certainly sounds like he is trying to do the right thing.

    My suggestions. Encourage him and make him want to hang out with you. Don't bring up problems or scold him for not spending enough time with you. Maybe suggest and show interest in things you both like. If he doesn't want to go, go with the kids. He will see he is missing out.

    He has to want it. You can't force it. You can however do things to make yourself happy and be nice to him. I'm willing to bet he will come around if he has came this far.

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  6. #15
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    You've been writing about similar problems with him for over a decade.

    -He's an alcoholic who sometimes is sober, sometimes is not.
    -He sometimes holds down a job, but most often, does not, and you are expected to hold down the family finances. For years at a time.
    -He's only happy when you are doing things that he wants to do, and basically uninterested otherwise.

    You have probably 20 threads in your posting history, going back more than 10 years, with similar issues. You get the same advice you've gotten here.

    I'm not trying to be harsh to you. But what I will ask is: What is it you want? You've received pages and pages of excellent advice over the years, yet you are here again, with the same issues. Color me confused.

    My vote? This isn't/hasn't been a marriage for years.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    ^^^ In that case I can't stress enough that you get yourself to al-anon and/or a personal therapist to help you work on your codependency issues. No sense seeking out advice here because you're just going to get the same basic advice you've always gotten.

    You have to actually look after what's going on with you because you can change you with 100% success if you actually do something to facilitate the change but you'll have 0% chance of changing someone who clearly does not want to change.

  8. #17
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    This is your thread dated 12/20/2009, basically the exact same issue you posted in this current thread.

    In the last sentence of your post, you asked if you should divorce him now for fear of resentment later. So, it's later now.....10 years later. Are you resentful that you stayed for the past 10 years, or are you going to post in 2029 that you are still wondering the same things?

    [Register to see the link]

  9. #18
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by aporia14

    Is there anything I can do, or read about to
    communicate with him better?
    Now seeing the bigger picture the question makes more sense. I think a lot of us have been here. `what can I do differently to change him'
    Well, you can't. As you are learning there is only so much influence you can have on another persons behavior or interaction with you. At some point you accept that this is what you have to work with.

    It doesn't matter what kinda of pretzel you twist yourself into or what choice of language you speak, you still get the same result because there is another person in this equation. It just so happens to be your difficult husband.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Agree. look at the whole picture. For decades you made it your job to deal with his alcoholism and now you have simply shifted to thinking it's your job to deal with his recovery. First you spent decades trying to understand his drinking and now you want to waste more years understanding his recovery?

    You are leading the pack at making your whole family sick by making his drinking and now recovery the focal point of the family, when the focal point should be your kids and what his drinking has already inflicted on them.

    No. It's your job to work on yourself and support your kids. It's his job to deal with his self inflicted problems, not yours. Provide a better environment for your kids, get them and yourself (without your husband) into therapy. Your focus should be on helping them cope not continuing to bend yourself around your husbands selfish behaviors.
    Originally Posted by aporia14
    my request for information on how to deal with recovering addicts. I am looking for information so I can better understand the issues recovering addicts are dealing with.

  11. #20
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    Agree. look at the whole picture. For decades you made it your job to deal with his alcoholism and now you have simply shifted to thinking it's your job to deal with his recovery. First you spent decades trying to understand his drinking and now you want to waste more years understanding his recovery?

    You are leading the pack at making your whole family sick by making his drinking and now recovery the focal point of the family, when the focal point should be your kids and what his drinking has already inflicted on them.

    No. It's your job to work on yourself and support your kids. It's his job to deal with his self inflicted problems, not yours. Provide a better environment for your kids, get them and yourself (without your husband) into therapy. Your focus should be on helping them cope not continuing to bend yourself around your husbands selfish behaviors.
    I could not agree more. DO not "work" or force recovery. Be glad you have a sober husband and focus on your kids, and if he is willing, ask him out on dates or start to rejoin the community as a couple - only going to sober places that do not serve alchohol or if they do, its not part of the experience of going (ie, a bar is a negative, a museum that has a little area where they serve cocktails in the evening but not all the time and you don't have to have one to have the experience, ok). Or yes, focus on recovering the family. Have you been to al-anon?

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